Wednesday Nostalgia

Thinking about odd things, I wonder which is really better? To save Great-Grandmother’s brooch in its velvet box where few of her descendants will see it, wear it, or know of its history or to just let it go with her stuff to the Thrift Shoppe when she passes and the family cleans out her house??

I really thought about this idea as I enjoyed the site of so many old brooches and pins offered for sale at a recent Vintage Faire. Many of these pieces of adornment was some woman’s treasured item, don’t you suppose?

Far, far, FAR better would be to ensure that all Great-Grandmother’s descendants know about that brooch of hers. Bet you’d agree to that.

(Note the prices and note the fence/gate that this display was mounted upon. )

Tuesday Trivia

According to a reminder bit in my local newspaper, it was 100 years ago about now that the first World War I draft registration numbers were called. Most of us know about, and have happily used, the World War I Draft Registration records but have we thought further to WHY those little cards were created and HOW the men were called up? Check it out….. most interesting reading.

The World War One Draft – Reporting of the First Draft Lottery – 1917

The Secretary of War, Mr. Baker draws the first number in the World War 1 Draft and Announces ” 2 5 8″ Photograph Copyright 1917 by Committee on Public Information.

Draft lottery selects 1,374,000 men for examination to provide 687,000 of first increment troops others of 10,000,000 are definitely listed for future service; Baker draws the first number.
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Gen. Crowder, Gen. Bliss, Senator Chamberlain and Representatives Dent and Kahn also select capsules from the 10,500 in the great glass bowl in senate office building room where drawing continues until morning

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Newspapermen present drafted—society women in night throngs—scenes and incidents that thrill.

Read more: World War One Draft – Reporting of the First Draft Lottery | GGArchives

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Monday’s Mystery

Today’s mystery is a photo-mystery. What is this (obviously a hill!) and where is it and why is it important to Washington history?

With last week’s mystery, I was musing about how a little wooden image of an ancient Hindu elephant god came to be floating along the western-end-edge of Long Lake where I found it among the driftwood. Two possible solutions were offered….love ’em!

Sonji Ruttan:  A group of Hindus were holding a seance on a luxury houseboat on Long Lake and offered this to the river god.

 Bettye Hull: There was a very old Hindu man traveling by wagon train in the 1880s through these parts. The wagon train was raided by Indians and many things were stolen. Obviously, this fell out of the bag of “loot”, or was discarded by the Indians because they had no idea what it represented.

Friday Serendipity

Con su permisio (with your permission), I’d like to continue with snips from the M.W.A.K. Columbian, the newsletter of the Mason Walsh Atkinson Kier Company, builders of Grand Coulee Dam, for their employees housed in the company town of Mason City.

One issue featured a list of Ways To Keep From Growing Old: 

(Remember, this is advice for the workers on the dam.)

  1. Don’t wear your safety belt.
  2. Do walk under overhead swinging loads.
  3. Do put your hand on a roller under the conveyor belt.
  4. Do talk back to one of our local minions of the law.
  5. Do step in from of a “cat.”
  6. Do handle electrical fixtures with wet hands.
  7. Do ignore the blasting signal whistles.
  8. Do eat with your knife.
  9. Do neglect to get prompt first aid when you’ve had an accident.
  10. Do not pay close attention to what you are going and what is going on around you.

This bit of sage advice was followed by  jokes:  Teacher: “Spell straight.” Johnny:  “S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T.”  Teacher: “Good! Now what does it mean?” Johnny, “Without Ginger Ale!”

Little Mary comes home from Sunday School and was asked by her mother what she had learned. Mary replied, “Oh, we learned all about King Solomon and his cucumber vines.”

Wednesday Nostalgia

Last Friday, I took some 90-year-old-nearly-blind friends on a road trip up to Newport, Washington, to see one last time where they had grown up. We had a delightful lunch in the Owen’s Grocery & Deli. There I spotted this:

How many of us remember begging Mom for a nickel (a Buffalo head nickel likely) to buy an icy-cold glass bottle of Coca-Cola from a big red tin box like this and then snap off the cap right there on the front of the machine? If you do have a memory of this, please share it!

Tuesday Trivia

Wheat. Other than eating it, what do you know about wheat, especially Washington’s wheat??

There was a big article titled “Growing Grains,” all about wheat farming in eastern Washington, in last Sunday’s SpokesmanReview newspaper. The article began:  “Long before Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks or Amazon, Washington was known for world-class agriculture. Our soil’s ability to grow so many types of crops makes it one of the nation’s most important farming states.”

Here are some statistics: There are “hundreds of varieties of wheat but they can be classified into six categories: Hard Red Winter, Hard Red Spring, Soft Red Winter, Soft White, Hard White and Duram. The major difference is the protein content and the gluten toughness.” These differences make the difference in bread, bagels, pasta, etc.

Washington beats out the other Northwest states in the number of bushels produced; some 157,200,000 million bushels last year. Some 79% of our wheat is white; and we are fourth on the list of Top Ten Wheat producing states but we exceed nine of them in “average yield of bushels per acre.”

Picture a big semi-circle drawn around the southeastern corner of Washington, encompassing parts of 17 counties; that’s our Washington wheat growing area. This really is a big deal.

Our Washington wheat is exported to markets mainly in the far East….. to the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Guatemala and even Yemen.

As you peanut-butter your bread for lunch, do thank a Washington wheat farmer. We’re tops!

Monday Mystery

Shucks. Nobody won a WSGS cupcake from answering last week’s mystery question. Nobody knew where the “Scrappy Sasquatch” was located. WELL! It’s in Elbe (near Mount Rainier, west side) and is in a personal roadside sculpture park on State Route 706 on your way to Paradise Lodge and the park. Google “En Nihilo Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park” to see all of Daniel Klennert’s creations.

Today I have a mystery for you of a totally different ilk. I found this wooden carved “thing” floating in Long Lake. This is the Spokane River where a lake has been formed (Long Lake) behind a dam (before continuing on its way into the Columbia River).

The blue glass is there for size comparison. Doing a bit of research, this is the ancient Hindu elephant god Ganesha, “one of the best known objects of devotion in the Hindu religion.” Notice especially the legs and feet positions. It’s carved from some very dark wood and must not have been in the water too long for it was not weathered or rotten a bit.

The mystery is how on earth did THAT get to be floating in Long Lake????? Especially in the lower end stretch, way past the houses and nearer to the dam, floating at lake’s edge amidst the weeds, plastic and driftwood. If you care to make up a story solving this mystery, I’d love to hear from you with said story!

Friday Serendipity

Couple of years ago, when the WSGS confernce featured David Rencher and was in Ellensburg, I took the opportunity to visit the Central Washington Branch of the Washington State Archives. While there I scanned through whatever looked interesting to me.

The M.W.A.K. Columbia (the Mason Walsh Atkinson Kier Company, builders of Grand Coulee Dam) was a newsletter for the citizens of Mason City. This city was built for the workers and their families. The first issue announced a contest with prizes of $1 up to $10. The contest asked for “a list of the four most dangerous hazards which you have observed and suggest how you would correct each of them.” (Meaning working conditions. Never found the results.)

That issue also touted that “Mason City, only three months ago a sage brush waste is now an ultra modern city with 64 homes, businesses, a soda fountain, a bank and a general store.”  And “free typhoid fever inoculations offered!”

Another item: “The workers’ payroll runs to $121,000 per week…mid Feb to mid-Mar there were 3218 employees…and 157 accidents, including two fatal ones.”

The April 1935 issue featured an anatomical drawing showing the workers where the pressure points were on the human body to use in an accident to stop the bleeding.”

Will continue with this theme next week………….


Wednesday Nostalgia

Ah, the good old days when most every grade school child was ushered into the nurses’ office and given a wooden spatula to cover first the right eye and then the left and was told to read the letters on this lighted eye chart. Did you pass? If not, a note was sent home with you to your parents that you needed glasses. Very scientific.

Tuesday Trivia

Would you rather live on Beet Street or Frog Hollow Road?

These are two for-real street names near Walla Walla.

Don’t we smile to see Bluebird Lane, Cricket Street, or Kennedy Parkway but we scratch our heads at Itani Street (a real street in Pullman). How would you react to these…. found photos of each on a website so I’m not pulling your tail……….

Priest River, Idaho:  GOA Way

Story, Alaska:  Farfrompoopen Road (said to be 200 miles from a reststop)

Bainbridge Island, Washington: Toe Jam Hill Road

Troy, Michigan: Intersection of Crooks Road / Corporate Drive

Great Meadows, New Jersey:  Shades of Death Road

New Portland, Maine:  Katie’s Crotch Road

Blountville, Tennessee:  Meth Bible Camp Road / Dead End

Littleton, Colorado: Jackass Hill Road

Heather Highland, Michigan: Divorce Court